Disease expression in X-linked retinitis pigmentosa caused by a putative null mutation in the RPGR gene

Department of Ophthalmology, Scheie Eye Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104, USA.
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (Impact Factor: 3.4). 09/1997; 38(10):1983-97.
Source: PubMed


To determine the disease expression in X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP) caused by a putative null mutation in the RPGR (retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator) gene.
In a family with XLRP, haplotype analysis was performed with polymorphic microsatellite markers from the Xp chromosomal region, and genomic polymerase chain reaction sequencing was used to identify sequence variations in the RPGR gene. Hemizygotes and heterozygotes were evaluated clinically and with visual function tests. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) was performed on heterozygotes. Postmortem donor retinas from a heterozygote were examined by microscopy and immunocytochemistry.
X-linked inheritance was confirmed by haplotype analysis using Xp markers. Sequence analysis of the RPGR gene identified a single base pair change, a G-->T transversion, that converts codon 52 GGA (Gly) to TGA (stop codon); the mutation segregates with the disease. A hemizygote in the third decade of life had barely measurable rod function and severely impaired cone function that diminished further over a 7-year interval. Heterozygotes varied in degree of disease expression from mild to severe. Perimetry showed loci with normal rod and cone sensitivity interspersed with loci having either equal rod and cone dysfunction or rod > cone dysfunction. Electroretinographic photoreceptor responses had equal reductions in rod and cone maximal amplitude. OCT cross sectional reflectance images of retinal regions with severe dysfunction showed reduced thickness of the retina and retinal pigment epithelium-choriocapillaris (RPE-CC) complex and increased reflections posteriorly. Regions with mild dysfunction showed similar OCT findings but with preserved retinal thickness. Retinal histopathology in a heterozygote revealed loss of photoreceptors throughout, with retention of only a few islands of cones with tiny or absent outer segments and rods lacking outer segments.
This RPGR gene mutation, in its mildest expression in heterozygotes, causes a relatively equal disturbance of rod and cone photoreceptor function. Detectable structural change by OCT at the level of the RPE-CC can be present in patches of retina with minimal functional disturbance. More advanced disease stages in heterozygotes show greater rod than cone dysfunction, and the end stage in hemizygotes and heterozygotes is that of typical RP, with only barely detectable cone function from residual cones in a thinned retina with abnormal RPE and choriocapillaris.

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Available from: Artur Cideciyan
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    • "RPGR overexpression in the WT retina will also inform as to whether similar gene therapy intervention could be safely considered for some carrier female patients. Finally, pursuing detailed phenotypic characterization of XLRP patients (Jacobson et al. 1997; Lorenz et al. 2003; Aleman et al. 2007; Huang et al. 2012) is necessary to establish valid outcome measures of therapeutic efficacy for future human clinical trials. "
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    ABSTRACT: X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP) caused by mutations in the RPGR gene is a severe and early onset form of retinal degeneration, and no treatment is currently available. Recent evidence in two clinically relevant canine models shows that adeno-associated viral (AAV)-mediated RPGR gene transfer to rods and cones can prevent disease onset and rescue photoreceptors at early- and mid-stages of degeneration. There is thus a strong incentive for conducting long-term, preclinical efficacy and safety studies, while concomitantly pursuing the detailed phenotypic characterization of XLRP disease in patients that may benefit from such corrective therapy.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
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    • "We also found structural changes in SD-OCT images, in the form of thinning of the outer retinal layers within the central 30 in all XLRP carriers. Previous qualitative OCT assessments have reported retinal layer thinning in studies consisting of 2 carriers (Jacobson et al., 1997) and 5 carriers (Vingolo et al., 2006), in agreement with our findings, however in another study of 3 carriers, retinal thickness was observed to be normal (Genead et al., 2010). The finding of thinning of the outer retinal layers in XLRP carriers is consistent with reports of retinal thinning in RP (Hood et al., 2009), as well as thinning of the outer nuclear layer found in a canine model of XLRP carriers (Beltran et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate visualization of the tapetal-like reflex using current imaging modalities and evaluate SD-OCT changes in known carriers of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP); the objective being the development of an optimal protocol for clinicians to identify carriers. Ten XLRP carriers (19 eyes) were examined using color fundus photography, 488 nm reflectance (488-R), near-infrared reflectance (NIR-R), autofluorescence (AF) and spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) imaging (Spectralis SLO-OCT, Heidelberg). Horizontal line scans through the fovea were acquired in all subjects and in a group of 10 age-similar controls. Peripheral SD-OCT scans (extending to 27.5° eccentricity) were also acquired in both eyes of 7 carriers. MP-1 microperimetery (10-2 pattern; Nidek) was performed in one eye of each carrier. For the XLRP carriers, a tapetal reflex was observed with all imaging modalities in 8 of 19 eyes. It had the same retinal location on color fundus, 488-R and NIR-R imaging but a different location on AF. The tapetal reflex was most easily detected in 488-R images. The horizontal foveal SD-OCT scans were qualitatively normal, but measurements showed significant outer retinal layer thinning in all eyes. Additionally, the 14 eyes with peripheral SD-OCTs demonstrated patchy loss of the inner segment ellipsoid band. Microperimetry exhibited patchy visual sensitivity loss in 9 eyes. Full field ERGs were variable, ranging from normal to severely abnormal rod and cone responses. Our findings suggest that an optimal protocol for identifying carriers of XLRP should include 488-R imaging in a multimodal approach. Peripheral SD-OCT imaging and central retinal layer quantification revealed significant structural abnormalities.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · Experimental Eye Research
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    • "Affected males generally show signs of night blindness by the first decade of life, progressing to vision loss by the fourth decade [6]–[9]. Female carriers can at times exhibit clinical findings, including electroretinogram (ERG) defects [6], [7], [10]. In some instances, RPGR mutations are associated with cone-rod degeneration, atrophic macular degeneration, and syndromic phenotypes [4], [11]–[13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Animal models of human disease are an invaluable component of studies aimed at understanding disease pathogenesis and therapeutic possibilities. Mutations in the gene encoding retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator (RPGR) are the most common cause of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa (XLRP) and are estimated to cause 20% of all retinal dystrophy cases. A majority of RPGR mutations are present in ORF15, the purine-rich terminal exon of the predominant splice-variant expressed in retina. Here we describe the genetic and phenotypic characterization of the retinal degeneration 9 (Rd9) strain of mice, a naturally occurring animal model of XLRP. Rd9 mice were found to carry a 32-base-pair duplication within ORF15 that causes a shift in the reading frame that introduces a premature-stop codon. Rpgr ORF15 transcripts, but not protein, were detected in retinas from Rd9/Y male mice that exhibited retinal pathology, including pigment loss and slowly progressing decrease in outer nuclear layer thickness. The levels of rhodopsin and transducin in rod outer segments were also decreased, and M-cone opsin appeared mislocalized within cone photoreceptors. In addition, electroretinogram (ERG) a- and b-wave amplitudes of both Rd9/Y male and Rd9/Rd9 female mice showed moderate gradual reduction that continued to 24 months of age. The presence of multiple retinal features that correlate with findings in individuals with XLRP identifies Rd9 as a valuable model for use in gaining insight into ORF15-associated disease progression and pathogenesis, as well as accelerating the development and testing of therapeutic strategies for this common form of retinal dystrophy.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · PLoS ONE
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